Ballynahinch 1sts 58 Malone 3
John Dickson reports from Ballymacarn Park
Ballynahinch maintained their lead at the top of Division 1 B with an emphatic 8 try victory over Malone in the big derby clash at Ballymacarn Park.
There was to be no repeat of the stuttering performance that the Hinch gave in the 15 all draw at Gibson Park earlier in the season. Ballymacarn Park was still very soft in places but it was a perfect evening for running rugby with the rain holding off and the no wind to trouble either side.
Hinch played towards Slieve Croob is the first half and they signaled their intentions with a powerful opening play which was started by strong carry from centre Stuart Morrow and when quick ball was moved wide fullback Rodger McBurney smashed his way over in the right hand corner for an unconverted try to make it 5-0.
Four minutes later Hinch kicked a penalty into touch on the Malone 22. The lineout was secured then moved wide where centre Stuart Morrow took a great line at pace to burst through the midfield and touch down under the posts for Michael Lawton to convert taking Hinch 12-0 clear.
Two Lawton penalties in the 22nd and 25th minutes took the Hinch tally to 18 points, then a third home try was scored two minutes later when Kyle McCall charged down John Creighton’s clearance kick at a ruck 5 metres from the Malone line, he then gathered the loose ball to score beside the posts. Lawton adding the extras to make it 25-0.
Malone put their first points on the board on the half hour mark when Hinch failed to release in the tackle, Niall O’Connor converting to make it 25-3.
The bonus point try came in the 33rd minute when prop Conor Carey shrugged off a couple of players and with a nice step inside he sprinted clear on the Malone 22 to dive over close to the posts. Lawton’s extra two points took the score to 32-3 at halftime.
Hinch maintained their speed and control in the second half running in another four tries, the first of which came in the 57th minute when scrum half Blane McIlroy picked up from a 5 metre scrum to twist his way over. Lawton converted to make it 39-3.
The final three tries were all scored by winger Aaron Ferris, as the Hinch punished any mistake the visitors made. Ferris had looked dangerous all night and as the game moved into the final quarter replacement prop Stuart Orr made great ground before Harry McAleese and Jonny Madden combined to release Ferris who crossed for an unconverted try in the left corner in the 62nd minute.
A wall of sustained pressure on the Malone defence created the final two tries with the Hinch pack playing with great pace and accuracy Blane McIlroy and Harry McAleese had an abundance of ball to play with. Ferris dived over for is second try in the 70th minute then bagged his hatrick in the 73rd minute touching down under the posts.
Lawton converted two of these tries to complete the scoring, Hinch happy with their winning 58-3 result.
A pleasing result for the County Down men who now travel to Dublin this Saturday for the big clash against Trinity at College Park. Every game in this campaign has been an important stepping stone, but victory in this match is vital as the Hinch hit the home stretch in the race for the Division 1B title.